Being Present

How to Unpack Your Burdens with Jesus

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“Come to me, you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 It is hard to receive these life-giving words into our hearts, despite our desperate “I want it!” Why? There may be many reasons, but mine is most often an unwillingness to unpack my dirty underwear. Let me explain. I am currently facing too many assignments, far more than I can accomplish in a day than […]

Courage

Step Aside A Moment

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When life is coming at you full-on force, clarity and intention drain away in the torrent like watercolors bloated with water. The picture we were so carefully painting becomes nondescript, even unrecognizable. These weeks tailing our summer feel like this, and I am gasping. At a time when I have emptied my reserves, I find I must rally all strength—not to push through the onslaught necessarily, but to shelter and rest. Automatically, I push back at force to prove you can’t get me down, and it can seem too vulnerable to go with the flow. It requires strength of spirit, mind, and will to step […]

Attitudes

Jesus is Present to You

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It is such a gift when someone really listens to you. You can tell by her uncrossed arms, attentive eyes, and thoughtful questions. She makes you feel welcomed, validated, and loved. Somehow this friend has succeeded in putting aside her preoccupations, her concerns, her agendas, her life, for you! She asks a question, born of her careful listening, that stuns you with clarity, like sunlight suddenly caught and intensified through a magnifying glass, bearing down on your soul with brilliant accuracy. Maybe her question broke open a festering wound, maybe it sealed an ache with healing, maybe it removed obstacles and shone a way forward, […]

Attitudes

Where Can I Find Peace and Quiet?

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My soul hungered for quiet with just Jesus. With an unexpected hour of uninterruption before me, I took the opportunity. I rushed to the bench we usually meet at, and hurriedly sat down to commence “The Time of Being Present” (cue soundtrack indicating an important moment!). Only I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t stop talking. I felt as if tiny flashes of electricity were flowing under the surface threatening to shock me into action any second. I kept flicking my eyes to see who might be coming, ready to look busy. And Jesus wouldn’t say anything! He just sat there.  In my discomfort I began […]

Attitudes

Why should a Christian practice “being present”?

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For some Christians, practicing being present sounds too other religion-y, too “out-there”, too vague. To Christians who love the “go” of the gospel, who find purpose in a mission, and joy in activity, being told to “be present” is too inactive, even a trap of the devil to stop the forward motion of the kingdom. Aren’t we supposed to be looking forward to Jesus’ coming and the full expression of his kingdom? Yes, we are. Aren’t we supposed to turn from our old selves? Yes, we are. But these are not the only aspects of following Jesus. We follow him today, too. So, why is […]

Attitudes

On Being Present Today (When You’d Rather Be in Yesterday or Tomorrow)

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I am currently in a temporal vortex of sorts having just returned from a fantastic, fulfilling mission trip that lingers in my happy memories and draws me back from today, yet driven forward by the hope and plans of the future that require a time investment today. So here I sit in the heart of the year, in the heat of today sandwiched between two mountains gazing at their tantalizingly cold and clear summits. In the hazy swirl of the valley lies my today, the heavy traffic of an eight-member household, a job, hobbies, and responsibilities all bustling about me, confusing me with their incessant […]

Uncategorized

Courage to Keep Going

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Do you have difficulty pushing yourself to try something because you feel self-conscious, or afraid people will either ignore you, make fun of you, or criticize you? Nearly every time I put something on my blog, on social media, invite people over, or want to meet someone, I run into this familiar resistance. Most of the time it’s mild enough I can ride over it like a bump in my path, but sometimes I don’t. For the last couple of weeks, I have been hearing of others who are making the choice, and asking for prayers, to push past these feelings that hold us back. […]

Attitudes

Courage Amid Worries

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Four a.m. is a sly hour. Sometimes I can slide past it in oblivion, other times it wakes in my sub-conscious as a bright new dawn, a photo-bomber of my picture perfect slumber. Last night, it shed its camouflage, and grinned widely at me, enjoying the time to toy with my mind. This is the hour that is raw; the vulnerable, naked time. It is as if all the swaddling comes off my psyche, and I’m left in the crib flailing and wailing (if awake), or completely at peace (if asleep). Honestly, this hour intimidates me. Last night was one of those unpleasant rousings where […]

Attitudes

Courage Gains Strength in Stillness

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Nascent courage feels much like a sprig of hope, slenderly strong in the cold earth rising to the call of the white light above. Fragile, yet powerful, in its miniscule multiplication, cell upon cell of mitochondrial factories. Scoff not at the small beginning. Trample not the greening of an idea under the solstice of God. He rises, like the sun, for just such a reason. He bends his power, as the sun sends its rays, to this greening earth to call forth these courageous beginnings. Sometimes a seed lies long in the dark earth, then someone “happens” to kick a clod away, just enough to […]

Attitudes

Being Hospitable is Central to Following Jesus

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Being hospitable is all about making space, a push to the jumble of our commitments, a pull of invitation for someone to enter despite the topsy-turvy evidence of messy, beautiful lives. Whether having someone come to my place or meeting someone elsewhere, if you are like me, you have a mental, maybe physical, closet stash of hustled miscellany out of sight. These thoughts tumble into my mental space frequently, like ubiquitous dust bunnies floating about the space. Mental dustpan in hand, I sweep these distractions up again so that I can direct my attention to my friend. This making space – temporal, mental and physical […]